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These are the technology improvements that are easily doable and that I think we need as fast as possible:
The situation in Syria is horrible. The West is responsible for the situation in the Middle East. It is the West (especially USA and UK) who supported brutal dictators like Saddam Hussein and Bashar al-Assad. They also supported the dictator of Egypt – Hosni Mubarak and they support the current dictator of the country.
The Western governments refuse to attack ISIS, although spending a lot of taxpayer money, giving fat contracts to companies producing weapons, and claiming they attack ISIS. In reality, they only attacked once the ISIS trucks transporting oil, three days after the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. ISIS can keep doing their business without being bothered too much by the West.
At very least, the West, together with its allies – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, should break a small part from Northern Syria and allow the refugees to come there, supplying them food and shelter. They have more than enough power to do that and to protect such a small area.
By the contrary, the Western governments are very happy with the disaster taking place in Syria, and the Western media spreads misinformation, claiming that the Arabs always enjoyed fighting and killing each others. Even the US president Barack Obama supports such miserable claims.
In Iraq, the USA replaced Saddam with a Saddam like president – Nouri al-Maliki. The USA supports an ultra-corrupt government in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan. While filling their pockets and bank accounts with billions of US dollars, the people of those corrupt governments are making the life of their people a living hell. All that with the support from the West. The West is doing nothing to pressure the governments in Iraq or Afghanistan to reduce corruption.
I live in Spain and that makes me a Westerner. I am deeply ashamed to be part of all this horrible situation. So my message for the people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan is that I am ashamed to be part of this, I am ashamed that, with my passivity, I am supporting the Western governments to devastate their countries. But I will try my best to change that, calling the other Westerners to stop supporting their governments and to pressure their governments to help Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, instead of devastating them.
In my view, the Economic Crisis exists because of a few major factors:
The Economic Crisis has a cause, and the cause is that the governments are not doing anything to protect their people. They refuse to put in place the rules that can keep the economy working.
Unfortunately, the public is not aware of such things and it’s not putting pressure on their governments to change the situation.
I live in Spain and that makes me a Westerner. I am thankful to live here, since the situation in the rest of the world is much worse. But the West is far from being ok, and there are many things that make me feel disgusted and ashamed for being part of the West.
These are the things I don’t like in the West:
Unfortunately, the Western public doesn’t seem to be aware about how much damage all the above things are doing and they are not asking their governments to change any of those things.
Rifaat al-Assad, the uncle of the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, involved in the Hama massacre of 1982 and in the 1980 Tadmor (Palmyra) Prison massacre, also named “butcher of Tadmor”, lives like a king in the West, having properties in the UK, France and Spain. The Syrians say that he is extremely rich and he also has 33% of the Eurotunnel.
Hussein Salem – Wikipedia – an Egyptian-Spanish businessman, co-owner of the East Mediterranean Gas Company (EMG), and ally and advisor to former president Hosni Mubarak.
Salem was accused by Egyptian authorities of corruption on charges he illegally gained public funds by obtaining a monopoly on the sale of gas to Israel, and as a result, squandering $714 million in public funds by selling Egyptian natural gas to Israel at below market prices. Hussein Salem, a former intelligence officer on the Egyptian side, conducted deals with Yossi Maiman, a former intelligence agent with Israel’s Mossad.
Egypt’s Lost Power, an investigative documentary broadcast today by Al Jazeera and available worldwide online – it provides new insight into how Egypt’s vast natural gas wealth was stolen through collusion by Israel and cronies of the former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.
The documentary focuses on the role of Hussein Salem, a close associate of Mubarak, and Samih Fahmy, a protege of Salem, who was installed as Egypt’s energy minister in the early 2000s.
in June 2012, the Cairo Criminal Court found Salem, in absentia, and former Petroleum Minister Sameh Fahmi guilty and sentenced them each to 15 years in prison.
However, Salem still resides in Spain due to the Spanish authorities refusal to extradite him.
Al Jazeera asked Yossi Maiman about his role in back-door deals with Egyptian businessmen that resulted in Egypt exporting gas to Israel at prices well below market rate – YouTube.
Importing Syrian criminals
Mass murdering Muslims from the government forces, from Hezbollah, from Obama and EU’s infamous al-Qaeda affiliated “rebels”, and from the Islamic state who behead unarmed people are pouring into Europe by the thousands. As you can see on the photos they are pretending to be “desperate refugees”, some even rent children to pose with in a theatrical manner, crying crocodile tears.
This problem is a creation of the EU leadership who need to be charged with treason and face appropriate punishments.
Importing corrupt “investors” from Russia & Ukraine
London estate agents caught on camera dealing with ‘corrupt’ Russian buyer
In a documentary called From Russia With Cash, to be broadcast on Wednesday, two undercover reporters pose as an unscrupulous Russian government official called “Boris” and his mistress “Nastya” whom he wants to purchase an upmarket property in London for.
The couple – Russian anti-corruption campaigner Roman Borisovich and Ukrainian investigative reporter Natalia Sedletska – view five properties ranging in price from £3m to £15m, on the market with five different west London agents, in Kensington, Chelsea and Notting Hill.
Despite being made aware they are dealing with ill-gotten gains, the estate agents agree to continue with a potential purchase. In several instances the estate agents recommend law firms to help a buyer hide his identity.
London hotter than ever for Ukraine’s oligarchs
LONDON – Knightsbridge, Kensington and Chelsea are the most desired destinations for ultra-rich homebuyers from around the world, and Ukraine’s oligarchs are no exceptions. House prices here are anything north of $2.2 million.
The influx of foreign cash – often of dubious origin – this year has forced the British government to consider tightening property-buying regulations and banning shell companies from offshore havens that hide real owners.
Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akhmetov bought the most expensive apartment in London in 2011, at One Hyde Park for roughly $200 million. According to a range of reports in the British media, Akhmetov’s London abode is a fortress, complete with bulletproof windows and a panic room where he and his family can retreat should an emergency arise.
I live in the Western Europe, more exactly – in Spain. With all the problems we have, the life of the people here is much better than in the most parts of the world (Asia, Africa, Latin America). Almost every day I say thanks heavens I don’t live in such parts of the world.
Having said that, I don’t think that the West is perfect or very good. There are lots of bad things and I’ll try to mention some of them.
Today, the tax evasion: If a private person or the owner a small company evades paying tax, they are breaking the law and they risk to go to jail. But when big companies evade paying taxes using tax heavens, they are not breaking the law and they don’t risk anything. Because the laws are tailored in order to protect the big crime, legalizing tax fraud for the super-rich.
The missing $20 trillion – How to stop companies and people dodging tax, in Delaware as well as Grand Cayman, Feb 16th 2013, The Economist.
Delaware – a black hole in the heart of America – The US state has been named the world’s most opaque jurisdiction in a major new survey of financial secrecy. 1 November 2009, Nick Mathiason, The Guardian
Legalized Tax Fraud: How Top US Corporations Continue to Profit Through Offshore Tax Havens, Feb 18 2015, budget.senate.gov
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, today called on America’s leading corporations to stop sheltering profits in the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens.
As CEOs seek tax cuts, senator slams corporate tax haven use, Feb 18, 2015, David Lawder, Reuters.
Sanders, top opposition member on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, released a report decrying what he called “legalized tax fraud.” It showed that 111 of the 201 member companies of the Business Roundtable are sheltering more than $1 trillion in profits overseas, where they are not subject to U.S. taxes.
Introduction: no economic system can work without affordable prices. Without affordable prices, the people become poor and incapable to buy the basic goods they need to sustain their life as human beings.
One of the most important things in a functional capitalist system is a real competitive market. The economic agents must compete in order to be able to offer competitive prices for their products. The competition and the competitive prices make the goods affordable, so the people can actually buy them.
Without competition, monopolies and cartels can form, and they can inflate the prices of the goods. And when the prices of the basic goods are inflated, then the people become poor, because they won’t afford to buy those basic goods (food, water, electricity, housing, etc)
Therefore the government must make sure that there is real competition on the market, in order to have affordable prices for the basic goods.
The government must fight monopolies, cartels and speculation because these things are anti-competitive and the inflate prices of basic goods.
In the area of housing and real estate, because the land is in limited supply, the price of the land and of houses tend to grow constantly. A limited amount of land can only fit a limited number of houses, so the houses can not be produced indefinitely like for example food.
In the field of real estate, competition is not enough in order to ensure the affordable prices. The only real solution here is the government to interfere and to rent houses and land to the people, for a profit, but at a decent price. Nobody should be able to rent two houses from the government. If someone wants more houses, they can buy or rent them from the private market. But they should not get from the government more than one house, because such thing will prevent someone else to have a house.
In conclusion, the competition is very important in order to make a system functional. But the real goal is not the competition in itself. The real goal is to get to the affordable prices. And sometimes the competition alone is not enough. The government should rent houses (or — better — apartments) to the people who want such houses, in order to make sure that the people can have access to affordable housing.
I do not agree that a functional communist society can be created with absence of money and state. On the other hand, I do support the ideas of egalitarianism and participatory democracy.
A communist system means the absence of state, and that means the system is sustained by participatory democracy, and that means the people in that system have to participate into the decision making. And this is the biggest problem with every single modern communist system or group of people: the sad truth is that the people do not bother to create a better society, they do not participate.
When a group of people want to have a communist system, they have to understand that they have to actually build their communist system, step by step, and they have to learn how to participate, because the ability to make the system work can come only from actually practicing it.
If the communists really want to build communism, they should start with the very basics: they can put money and effort together and they can start cooperatives, in order to start creating jobs and to practice. If one million communists will put 10 dollars each, they can get 10 million dollars, and with those money they can start a cooperative. That cooperative should work for a profit, and all the profits should be invested into growing the cooperative, to create even more jobs. Once they will make the system run, there will be a lot of enthusiasts available to donate much more than just 10 dollars. There are a lot of rich communist supporters in this world. So the money are not a problem. The real problem is to convince the people to actually participate.
If the communist supporters refuse to build their egalitarian society, then the only alternative left is for them to find leaders to build that egalitarian system for them. And there are very small chances that they can find the right people to do the job. Most likely, they will find a dictator like Stalin, Pol Pot, Ceausescu or Castro to enslave and terrorize them in the name of communism. All those dictators were free to do horrible things because the people prefer to find leaders who tell them sweet words instead of actually building communism.
So the problem is not the communism, but the real problem is the communists who refuse to participate and to actually build a better society.
One very important thing about the self-styled “communist” countries (examples: Soviet Russia, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Albania, North Korea, China) that we have to notice is the fact that they were not and they are not communist at all.
In those countries, the “communist” leadership simply enslaved the people in the name of communism. Instead of working for greedy and corrupt rich investors, in the communist countries the people had to work for a greedy and corrupt communist elite. So there was no real change when those countries became “communist”.
Also there were no cooperatives in communist countries. What the governments called “cooperatives” were in fact state-owned companies where the people were forced to work for little money. The people did not own any land or means of production and they had no freedom to associate in order to create cooperatives. They were just forced to work together in government-owned outfits.
So, instead of giving the power to the working class, the “communist” governments simply enslaved the working class.
Also, they installed totalitarian regimes, and the people could not say anything against the communist party, and they could not even complain about the corruption of the “communist” leadership.
Therefore, we can safely say that the Western capitalist countries are much more communist than the “communist” countries, because in the West people are actually free to create cooperatives where each one has a share, while in the “communist” countries, they do not have that option.
So the people were just being indoctrinated (both in the West and in the East) to believe that those countries were communist, just like we (the Westerners) are indoctrinated today to believe that we live in capitalist systems, when in fact our systems are not capitalist, they are just being labeled as capitalist.
It’s always a pleasure to hear about projects that develop modular or open source hardware. The more popular the hardware is, the better. And this time, it’s very good news.
Recently I found the Google’s Project Ara, that aims to create a modular mobile telephone.
2014-04-16 – http://www.wired.com/2014/04/google-project-ara/
2014-04-22 – http://www.wired.com/2014/04/google-ara-new-deal/
Google plans to release it in 2015. Sure, it’s an ambitious target and definitely Google has enough power to justify such an ambitious term.
However, making a modular mobile phone will probably be one of the greatest achievements of this century. Not only because of the telephone itself, but for the precedent it creates. It can be the spark that ignites a revolution in modular hardware. If this project will be the snowball that will start the snowball effect, then it will be for sure one of the greatest projects of this century.
It might take a little bit more time to deliver such a groundbreaking technology. I just hope that Google will keep working on the phone, even if it takes 5 years more to deliver it.
Also, I think that Google should also create modular tablets. Since they are bigger, it would be much easier to make them modular, as modular devices neeed to be bigger because the space consumed for provinding connections between modules. Also it would be awesome to create modular Notebooks.
Google Ara was inspired from the Phonebloks idea, which surfaced in 2013.
The only idea I found before 2013 for this was this post:
I wish that Google – or other big companies like Google will try to make also modular home appliances like washing machines, fridges, microwave ovens, coffee makers etc. Such machines will dramatically improve the life of the poor people, since they can’t afford to change a washing machine when a proprietary small part is broken.